Library Resources: Old Testament Exegesis (1103, 2103 & 3103 )

Many institutions and scholars use the label “Biblical Theology” rather than “History of Revelation,” and some use the label “Hebrew Bible” rather than “Old Testament,” so be sure to include various configurations in your search.

Guide to Doing Exegesis

  • For the steps of exegesis, see Douglas Stuart, Old Testament Exegesis (4th ed.), pp. 5-31, located at BS476 .S83 2009.

Translating Your Passage

  • For Hebrew grammars, dictionaries, and other linguistic helps, see the pathfinder for Hebrew courses (//
  • Standard English translations are located in the Reference section at REF BS170-195, or in the stacks at BS140-195.
  • Consult translations in major commentaries: these are often fresh and annotated.
  • For understanding translation options, see Baylor’s Handbooks on the Hebrew Bible, located in the Commentary section at COM BS715 .B39 2007
  • For grammatical difficulties, consult Scripture indices of Hebrew reference grammars, conveniently collated in Putnam’s Cumulative Index (Ref PJ4553 .P87 C8 1995).

Solving Text-Critical Problems

  •  For general resources, see the pathfinder for OT textual criticism (//
  • For information on a particular text-critical variant, consult a commentary such as NICOT, AB, ICC, or WBC, all found in the commentary section.
  • For detailed analysis of thorny text-critical problems, see Barthélemy’s Critique Textuelle de l’Ancien Testament (4 vols) at BS 1136 .C74 1982.

Doing Word Studies

  • Word searches are most efficiently done via Bible software. That said, Hebrew Concordances in book form include Lisowsky (Ref BS 1121 K6 1981) and Even-Shoshan (Ref BS 1121 .E8 1983).
  • For the meaning of a word in a particular context, consult the Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (REF PJ4833 D52) or the Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Ref PJ 4835 .E5 H4 1994)
  • For the theological significance of words, consult Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (REF BS440 .T4713 1974) or New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis (REF BS440 .N38 1996).
  • For broader concepts, consult Dictionary of the Old Testament (4 vols) at REF BS1225.52 .D53 2003.

Understanding Literary Context 

  • For genre and hermeneutical principles, start with Klein, Blomberg, and Hubbard’s Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (BS476 K454 I5 2003) or Köstenberger and Patterson’s For the Love of God’s Word (BS476 .K678 2015).
  • For a guide to comparable literature from the Ancient Near East, see Kenton Sparks, Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible (BS1184 .S63 2005).
  • Theological themes of a Bible book may be found in the introductory chapter of a commentary or in OT Introductions. A variety of OT Introductions are available in the stacks at BS1140.

Unpacking Cultural Background

  • For archaeological data, the Anchor Bible Dictionary (Ref BS 440 .A54 F7 1992) is a quick resource. More detailed information is available in the New Encyclopedia of Excavations of the Holy Land (REF DS111 .A2 E5813 1993). Biblical Archaeology Review is an attractive and accessible journal with a wealth of up-to-date information.
  • For geography, atlases are available at REF G1021-2230.
  • For historical context, OT histories can be found in the stacks at BS1197.
  • For religious and social institutions:
    1. consult a Bible dictionary such as Anchor Bible Dictionary (REF BS440 .A54 F7 1992), International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Ref BS 440 .I6 1979) or New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (BS440 .N445 2006);
    2. consult an OT Institutions textbook, such as de Vaux’s Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions or King and Stager’s Life in Biblical Israel (DS112 .K48 L5 2001);
    3. do a library catalogue search for resources on a particular institution.
  • For cultural context, consult the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary (5 vols) at REF BS1151.2 .W35 2000.

Consulting Commentaries

  • Check Longman’s Old Testament Commentary Survey (REF Z7772 .A1 L64 2007) for the best commentaries on your Bible book.
  • Major commentary sets are found in the commentary section upstairs.
  • Many more commentaries and monographs are found downstairs, ordered by OT book, from Genesis (BS1234) through to Malachi (BS1675).

Drawing Lines to the NT

  • Quotations and allusions to the OT in the NT can be found via the Scripture indexes at the back of your Greek New Testament, or from Finding the Old Testament in the New, esp. pp. 215ff (BS2387 .S54).
  • For the NT’s use of the OT, see Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (REF BS2387 .B43 2012).
  • For Christological fulfillment, see Van Groningen, Messianic Revelation in the Old Testament (BT235 .G76 1990).

Discovering the Message for Today

  • Consult homiletical commentaries such as the Pulpit Commentary series, the NIV Application Commentary, or The Bible Speaks Today.